Angkor Wat: Yama, the god of death and justice, in his court

Angkor Wat bas-relief depicting Yama sitting on a buffalo conducting the proceedings in his court

Yama seated on a buffalo

The bas-relief depicts Yama, the Lord of Justice and Death in Hindu mythology, sitting on a buffalo and conducting the proceedings in his court. He is portrayed with multiple arms, one of which carries his signature weapon gadā (mace), and is surrounded by his guards and sinners.

The section shown in the image is part of 200 ft long Heavens and Hells bas-relief carved on the eastern section of the south gallery located on the perimeter of the lower level of the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Check the Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs page for a detailed description of this and the other interesting bas-reliefs.

As the name suggests, the Heavens and Hells bas-relief is about the depiction of heavens and hells as described in ancient Hindu texts called the Puranas. Besides the scene shown in the image, the bas-relief has scenes depicting his assistant Chitragupta assessing the records of each soul and sending them to a swarga (heaven) or naraka (hell), and 37 swargas and 32 narakas.

In Hindu mythology, Yama is one of the dikpalas (guardians of the directions) and is responsible for guarding South, which makes him the lord of the south. Therefore, the bas-reliefs related to Yama are in the south gallery.

Check the Ashta Dikpalas page for a list and descriptions of all the eight dikpalas.

Heavens and Hells Related Images
Chitragupta Checking the Records of Souls
Pushing Sinners to a Naraka
Three Layers of the Heavens and Hells bas-relief
Depiction of a Naraka – Crucifying Sinners
Depiction of a Naraka – Burning
Depiction of a Naraka – Beating by Yama’s Guards
Depiction of a Naraka – Stomping by Yama’s Guards

Related Pages
Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei
Phnom Kulen, Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
Bali, Prambanan, Borobudur, Indonesia

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